Hummer Continues Global Expansion
You can expect the Hummer H3
here in Australia in early 2007.
But will it be a Hummer or will it be a Holden?
Time will tell!
7th April, 2005
General Motors announced overnight the next step in the global expansion of Hummer. Naturally, the Next Car team is first to bring the news to an Australian audience.
Starting late in 2006 a global version of the all-new Hummer H3 will be assembled at the General Motors plant in Struandale, South Africa. The additional volume to be assembled in South Africa is solely dedicated for export to markets in Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa.
When South African assembly begins in late-2006, it will involve components originally produced in GM's Shreveport, Louisiana plant. The new assembly operation in South Africa will focus on the implementation of revised content - such as right-hand drive - exclusively for H3s sold outside North America.
"Hummer's iconic design and unparalleled off-road performance are recognised around the world," said Susan Docherty, Hummer general manager. "We just recently announced H3 becoming a global product and the selection of a sole European distributor. The assembly of Hummer H3 in South Africa is another important step for Hummer in becoming a truly global premium brand."
Hummer H3 vehicles built in South Africa will be exported to left-hand drive markets in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Right-hand drive versions will be exported to markets such as the United Kingdom, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and other Asian markets. Another specific product feature for international markets, coming at a later date, is a diesel engine.
Assembly of the H3 is set to begin during the last quarter of 2006 in the Struandale production facility in Port Elizabeth. Annual production volume of the midsize sport utility vehicle homologated for export markets could eventually exceed 10,000 units per year, according to Maureen Kempston Darkes, General Motors group vice president and president of GM Latin America, Africa and the Middle East.
"The H3 exported from South Africa has the size and features to expand the appeal of the Hummer brand to an international audience, including right hand drive and full global homologation," Darkes said. The Hummer H1 and H2 models have been sold primarily in the United States and Canada, although GM began exporting Hummer H2 to countries in Europe, Asia and the Middle East last year.
Robert Socia, president and managing director of General Motors South Africa, called the announcement of the export programme a significant achievement for the company. "This $100 million investment into product development and production signifies GM's confidence in our organization and our ability to compete on a global basis by delivering high-quality products that meet global customer expectations," he said. The GM plants in Port Elizabeth currently assemble Opel and Isuzu products.
Plans are in place for the H3 to be retailed in the South African market beginning mid-year 2007. "To this end, we are looking to set up a distribution network that can support the unique nature of the vehicle," said Socia.
General Motors South Africa will be the only manufacturing site outside of the United States to assemble the Hummer H3. Production of the H3 will begin this northern spring at GM's Shreveport, Louisiana plant in the United States, with those vehicles primarily destined for markets in the North America, Europe and the Middle East.
H3 is an authentic Hummer, offering the brand's iconic design and famed off-road capability in a midsize and more accessible package. H3 aims to become the leader in off-road performance among midsize SUVs, just as the H2 achieved that stature among full-size SUVs. In addition, H3 delivers surprisingly comfortable on-road manners and a clean, well-crafted interior. The H3 South Africa export vehicle will initially be available with the Vortec inline 5-cylinder engine, choice of manual or automatic transmissions and a premium, full-time four-wheel-drive system.
Expect petrol, and in time, diesel versions.